I write this as I sit in front of the season seven premiere of Game of Thrones, with my roommate, in Los Angeles, where I have now lived for twelve days. I have Grindr open because I was talking to this real cute blond dude a mile away in Hollywood. Trade pics, blah blah blah. Now he’s not responding (#Typical) so here we are.

Flaco. That’s the title of this thing. Whatever this thing is. Where I get high and express myself? I’ll probably express myself sober, too. But I got a little high to ease the nerves for the aforementioned Hollywood hookup. Because at age two-months-shy-of-twenty-nine, I still get nervous about hooking up with strangers. Anyway.

So I’m really skinny. Okay, not like really skinny, I have a tiny gut. My professor in grad school called it that when he told me eventually my metabolism was going to give way and I’d actually have to try to stay skinny. Idk, Tonya, because my grandmother told me there are multiple men in our family who were skinny their whole life. The jury’s still out on who’s right because I haven’t died yet.

When I was a kid, I’m thinking around eight, but I honestly do not know what exact age I was. I do know where I was, though. I was in my aunt’s trailer. She’s not my aunt in like the blood way. She’s my mom’s very close friend, and so they are like sisters, thus she’s my aunt. Okay, I was in my aunt’s trailer, sitting on the floor of the living room. She had one of those…

(Side note: the white haired lady, the like badass one, idk her name I don’t watch this show, just appeared on screen and my roommate was like oh shit and it was like really epic with dragons and shit)

Okay, so she had one of those like white couches that bent like an arm? Not like at ninety degrees, there was a divot. It bent, I don’t know how else to say it. My cousin was there, too. She’s like two years younger than me, I think. And my mom was somewhere, and my mom’s boyfriend was on the couch with my mom’s future boyfriend (idk if that’s actually true), and my aunt’s husband (story about him another time) were on the couch. And my cousin had a doll, and I was a little queer boy who didn’t really know it was chillin’. (I’ll save the G later).

And I was like hanging out with my cousin and her doll and my mom’s boyfriend was like “don’t you want to be one of the guys.”

Because my fascination or whatever with the doll made me not that at age eight, idk.

So from very early on I always felt like I wasn’t being the right kind of man. From my mom to my sister. To these machismo Mexican men. I wasn’t the right kind of man. And now I’m twenty-eight-for-seventy-more-days, and I’m maybe starting to feel okay with myself. Granted, I spent the last eight months in therapy, which I got for myself, because after I got back to school, I was miserable. Like angry. The thought of doing anything with my classmates drove me nuts. I couldn’t stand the stupid things they said. I couldn’t stand their facial expressions. Something wasn’t right.

So I went to therapy. And right away I just unload on this guy. No like timid dance around the subject bullshit. I literally Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls word vomited all over that guy. And he broke it all down and helped me learn a lot about myself.

I never had a father figure. I had a father. Hell, I still have a father, really. He wasn’t around. My mother had to be both my parents. But my mother’s mother died and her father also wasn’t around. So she and her siblings were split up to live with random relatives because their own parents didn’t want them. So my mom did her best. She did the best she knew how to do. And I don’t give her enough credit for it.

So my only role models for men were these Machismo Mexican dudes, who made me feel like I wasn’t doing good enough just being who I was. I was skinny. I’m still skinny, but when I was a kid I was S K I N N Y. I was skinny and I was half white. My shoulders weren’t sturdy, I wasn’t a purebred. Everything about me was not quite good enough. But it was the environment I grew up in.

Skinny and flaco. Always flaco.

Flaco was a word I used to hate. It was never said to me in compliment. Like, “oh, you’re really skinny.” No. It was said with a nose turned upward, right above a very bushy mustache. I needed a man to show me how to be right. And I never felt right. It contributed to a lot, you know. I’m about to be one year shy of thirty, and I’m still not totally comfortable with myself. I have anxiety about doing things like going to get an oil change. Or how obnoxious I feel in a situation I’ve made up while hanging out with someone I care about. Or about how when I was a freshman in college, I joined a frat, got hazed, and broke my foot. I think that night was the first night I remember having anxiety. I am pretty sure I had it my whole life, I was a problem child, but like yeah.

And I think a lot of that came from being shamed for being skinny as a child. Not like skinny because of course everyone tells me how lucky I am all the time but like I’m skinny but I don’t have the right body for a man. No broad shoulders. No strong arms. No very shiny abs. But I’m told I have a very nice ass. Idk if that makes me the right kind of man, but whatever.

I’m just flaco. And flaco is the name of this story.